mis-ên-throp • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A person who hates people. (Does that include oneself?)
Notes: Today's word has, unfortunately, been used so much as to have begotten a large family of relatives. The adjective is misanthropic (misanthropically, the adverb) and misanthropy, the abstract noun. If you find today's word too short, misanthropist means the same thing and misanthropism means the same as misanthropy. If you need a gender-specific term, misandry is the hatred of men while misogyny is the hatred of women.
In Play: Misanthropic people tend to avoid company: "I thought Chester Drors avoided people because he is shy, but the more I get to know him the more I think he is a genuine misanthrope." Some people try to hide their misanthropy: "Actually, Robin Banks is a misanthrope whose philanthropic activities are determined solely by their value as tax write-offs."
Word History: Today's rather unpleasantly Good Word is a Greek compound based on misos "hatred" + anthropos "man, human" (not to be confused with andros "man, male"). The origin of misos is lost in the mists of history; however, it does appear in many familiar words. It may be combined with -gamy "marriage"—a root we examined in digamy earlier this year—to form misogamy "hatred of marriage". If you don't care much for grammar, you are a misogrammatist. If you love it, then you are a philogrammatist, for philos "thing or person loved" forms the antonyms of words beginning with miso-. This means that a philanthropist is the opposite of a misanthropist. (Today we thank Kathy Garrett for showing the philanthropy of sharing this word with us.)
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